Building magazine took over the 19th floor of Rotunda on 7 May when 100 built environment professionals came to hear all about Network Rail's exciting and impressive plans for New Street station, just 300m from Rotunda. The scheme which has been designed by Foreign Office Architects will truly transform the station and its environs making it probably the best looking 21st century station in Europe. Possibly the world.
Hot off the press... we've just learnt that we've won three Gold awards for our apartments in Manchester from Enjoy England and Quality in Tourism. This the first year of the awards in the serviced apartment category. They aim to recognise all the hard work that goes into delivering consistently high standards and we're the cream of the crop! Obviously we're delighted to have won!
Well that's what we read on a Mr Branson train yesterday... She's playing Birmingham on 23rd May. Best make your own mind up!
"Where better for Beyonce to lay her coiffed locks than at the top of Birmingham's most famous building? Built in the early 60's the Rotunda is distinctive, cylindrical, an icon. Saved from demolition by popular vote, it's now a top-notch residential block. Staying Cool's glamorous penthouse apartment (plus 14 on the floor below) has had a hip refit for short stays, the décor combining classic mid-century retro furniture and pieces commissioned from up-and-coming artists. In the penthouse, floor-to-ceiling glass opens onto a wind-whipped balcony, below which the nightime city glitters."
Just when you thought Valentine's was over for another year... we heard this morning that two sets of guests - in Birmingham and Manchester - proposed last night. Both offers accepted, rings on fingers. Congratulations Mark, Carl and both your lovely ladies.
Well that's what the Sunday Times has just said today in its piece on what's hot 2009 (new, stylish, cutting-edge, not necessarily expensive).
... Birmingham has just gained its first AA-five-star [actually Visit Britain accredited - ed] accommodation. The honour went to Staying Cool... from £110), serviced flats kitted out with bespoke designer pieces.
Staying Cool, which also has flats in Manchester and Devon, is probably the UK's hippest self-catering outfit..."
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We received Manchester's first five star rating for a serviced apartment back in 2005 but in Birmingham, with our Rotunda apartments, we've gone one step further and landed the city's first ever five star rating from either the AA or Visit Britain for either a hotel or a serviced apartment.
We had been working with Urban Splash in Manchester for several years, so when we saw Splash's plans for Rotunda it was pretty much a no brainer. Together we have created very unique and individual serviced apartments in Birmingham. All those hours of planning and preparation have paid off!
We've used all the experience we have gained in Manchester over the past three and a half years to create the very best place to stay in Birmingham. Our approach in Manchester has always been to distinguish ourselves from the mass-market and the run-of-the-mill. We are fussy about the choice of development, the interior design, the brand of coffee... everything is picked with care and attention to detail. Unlike other serviced apartment companies and most hotels, we really go to town creating a stylish and comfy home-from-home for our guests. We mix design classics, specially commissioned pieces and recycled or refurbished furniture; there is always an element of individuality in each of our apartments that we hope makes us stand out from the crowd.
DJ, presenter, journalist and author, Stuart Maconie, may now be London-based but he hails from England's Northwest and has just written a series of short stories and podcasts about his native region. Stuart stayed with us while researching the manchester segment a few months back. Now you can download written mini guides and podcasts telling you all about stuart's favourite haunts. Both are packed with interesting places off the beaten track as well as little gems about the main tourist attractions - all told in stuart's imitable style. Well worth a look. www.stuartsstories.com
We launched the first of our Staying Cool by the Seacollection this month with a stunning waterside penthouse in Devon. Formerly part of a nineteenth century naval yard, now Grade I listed, this huge 2,500 square ft apartment oozes character and grandeur and screams wow factor. Thick granite walls, tall ceilings, original timber beams and steel columns, chunky floorboards - the works... everything you would expect from an Urban Splash development. Obviously, we've added the Staying Cool touch with great interior styling and comfort to match. But don't take our word for it. go see for yourself... sleeps 4-6 (in style) and is available from the 24th August. Perfect for a last minute break.
Today we found out we are offiically a Green Tourism Business - we pretty much knew that already but it's nice to have the official nod every now and then. What on earth does that mean you're probably wondering... welllll, it means we procure our food locally (or from Fairtrade sources if that's not possible) and try to adhere to the principles of reduce, reuse, recycle. We were given a bronze rating - so still more to do, but going through the assessment has given us lots of ideas. Watch this space!
"The New York Times recently named our second city as one of the hottest destinations for 2012...Its favourite place to stay? Staying Cool's apartments atop the Rotunda..." The Sunday Times
""..our apartment was equipped with a fully functioning kitchen, replete with oranges for juicing, a juicer, coffee grounds for grinding, a coffee machine, and the most swaggy open-plan living room, framed by a seemingly endless view..."" Wonderland Magazine
"I liked the fact that all the food products were fairtrade/organic (excellent!). The flat was lovely, wish I had somewhere like that in London.." Kate Cater, Life & Style Editor, The Guardian